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Thesis

Optimism as a mediator between the experience of child abuse and distress

26 July 2004

Abstract

The hypotheses that dispositional optimism mediates current distress in students who have experienced potentially traumatic events, child physical abuse, child emotional abuse, and child sexual abuse were examined. Participants were 199 undergraduate and graduate students (aged 18-63 yrs) from a private university in Oregon. It was found that dispositional optimism mediated current distress in individuals who had experienced potentially traumatic events, child physical abuse, and child emotional abuse: with higher l levels of optimism, lower levels of current distress were found in individuals who [ experienced past potentially traumatic events. Contrary to predictions, the experience of child sexual abuse did not lead to significant levels of distress. The discussion focuses on the clinical implications of the results and suggestions for future research.


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